How much do you know about the land on which your home or business is built? If you are building on a vacant lot or if you have concerns about what the site of your property was used for, then it is a good idea to arrange for an environmental assessment to see if there is any contamination on your land.
While the health risks posed by contamination are sometimes insignificant it is important to understand that contaminated land is potentially hazardous to both those who use the area and to the wider environment. Unless you know the full nature of the land contamination it is impossible to say what the risks may be. You may be being unwittingly exposed to gases, dust or contaminated soil which pose a serious risk to your health. It is also possible for contaminants to wash out of the soil and enter either groundwater or nearby ponds or rivers spreading the contamination far beyond the confines of your property.
How does land contamination occur?
Land contamination might be in the form of lead, arsenic or other heavy metals or there could be contamination through oils, asbestos or even radioactive materials. Since not all contamination is visible to the naked idea it is vital to talk to a company offering environmental assessments and ask them to inspect the area if the history of your land gives you any cause for concern.
Frequently, land which has been used for industrial purposes such as mining, factories, and steel refining can be contaminated. Areas that have been subject to landfill in the past are also frequently contaminated since the contents of the landfill were probably not closely monitored and there may be no record of exactly what is hidden below the ground.
Is land contamination a growing problem?
For as long as there has been industry there have been contamination issues, the reason that land contamination has become better known in recent years is that there is now more awareness of the dangers of contamination. With greater urbanisation around the world, there is also more use being made of former industrial sites for housing developments. Reusing brownfield sites in this way often involves the decontamination of the site before redevelopment can begin.
Do you suspect land contamination?
The only way to be sure that your land is safe is to arrange for it to be properly examined as a part of an environmental assessment. Environmental assessments involve collecting water and soil samples which will allow you to build a detailed picture of conditions on the ground and identify any potential problems that could require remediation work.